Every child has the right to the best possible start. In fact, scientific studies show how the first years of life are determined by the emotional, cognitive, social, and learning ability of the newborn. What happens in this brief period of time determines a person’s whole life. This is why providing support to families who are in need and who are also facing the big changes that come with the birth of a child is really important, not just for the newborn, but also for the parents, family and network of relationships that surround them.
The objective of this project is to be there for the families, to accompany them and to create new relationships and new opportunities around the child. Ten families in our area with a child under the age of 12 months will be selected and they will be supported by qualified and trained personnel who will make two visits to the home each week. These visits will be coordinated and integrated with activities and services that are already open and available to everyone in our area (birth control, birth support courses, basic pediatric care, and educational services for early childhood).
Therefore, the educators will support the parent-child from its earliest stages, but will also have the important task of connecting the nuclear family to the social fabric and the network of services in the area. Parents and educators will work constructively together to guarantee the best possible start for the child.
Entering the world of families means reaching parents who would find it difficult to ask for help, it means looking for families rather than waiting for them. More importantly, after completing the accompanying process, the project wants families to be independent and autonomous with a solid and widespread network of relationships. This will allow everyone to feel at east and know who to turn to in case of need.
The intervention method that our educators will follow to help families in need has an important scientific value and was advanced by professor Berry Brazelton, an important American pediatrician. The method is called Touchpoints and aims to create stable and functional relationships and growth opportunities around the child in various stages of development.
Despite Dr. Brazelton’s recent death, his studies and methodologies continue to be explored, promoted, and applied by the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Harvard University in Boston. All over the world, several centers have been created to help diffuse this revolutionary working model. In Italy the Touchpoints Trianing Center is in Rome. The team working on the “With the families” project has completed their training courses these experts from the Center will accompany and advise our educators as they work to support the families in our region.
“With the families” is a project created and proposed by Dr. Marta Franci, a family psychologist and therapist, and Dr. Mariolina Frigeri, a pediatrician. Both are members of the Valter Baldaccini Foundation’s Scientific Committee. The Foligno Health District USL Umbria 2 was instrumental in implementing the project immediately, in particular the Director, Dr. Paola Menichelli and the Health Director Dr. Piero Manzi.
Our project's partner is Comunità La Tenda, a Foligno social cooperative that has been dealing with addiction, minors, youth, and work and community integrations for almost forty years. Two of their associates, Annachiara Papa and Cecilia Tazza, will be making home visits to families.
Starting with the assumption that the network of existing services in our territory is critical, the Consultant is also part of the work team along with obstetricians Maria Antonietta Leonardi and Sara Sforna, and social worker Francesca Montagnoli.
The Health District and Social Services have an important role in identifying and reporting families and in their involvement with existing community resources in the region. We have also involved local pediatricians and the Gynecology Department of the Foligno hospital in order to make our project useful for people who do not normally have access to services.